Pope: ‘Sins of the Flesh’ Not as Serious as ‘Hatred’
'There is a sin there but not the worst kind'
Pope Francis said that “sins of the flesh” are not as serious as other sins like hatred or pride, arguing they have far greater consequences.
The Pontiff spoke to the media during his flight between Greece and Cyprus on Monday, addressing the recent resignation of Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit following his affair with a secretary.
“I poorly handled the situation with a person who was in contact many times with me,” Aupetit said upon his resignation.
Though the Pope acknowledged the archbishop had failed “against the sixth commandment” (adultery), he said the offense was not absolute, since the prelate was accused of “small caresses” and massages.
“It was a failing against the sixth commandment (You shall not commit adultery) but not a total one, one of small caresses, massage given to his secretary – that is what the accusation is,” Francis said.
“There is a sin there but not the worst kind.”
“He (the bishop) was condemned but by whom?"
"By public opinion, by gossip .. he could no longer govern,” Francis added.
“I accepted the resignation of Aupetit not on the altar of truth but on the altar of hypocrisy.”
Aupetit maintains he did not violate his vow of celibacy.
Italian journalist Luigi Accattoli said the pope’s comments show that “things have changed in the last 60 years.”
The Catholic church once considered sexual sins as very serious, and priests would warn against non-married kissing, but things have changed.
Francis came out and said what has been clear to his predecessors since Pope Paul VI.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines chastity as the liberation of self-control so that people would not be controlled by their passions.
“Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery, which is a training in human freedom,” it says.
“The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.”